The International Society of Acrylic Painters


About ISAP, The International Society of Acrylic Painters

Our Mission is to represent and encourage artists using acrylic media and to promote the use of acrylic by painters worldwide. We encourage cultural and educational programs for the Visual Arts in the use of acrylic paint and support our membership and developing artists by way of lectures, demonstrations, exhibits and awards. 

Additionally, our policy is to invite a juror of reputable status and professional qualifications in the acrylic medium to jury our shows. This is an asset to the exhibitor because it can lend credibility and individual professionalism to the artist’s resume and credentials. Besides the publicity this provides the artist, the assessment of the pier contributors to the Show enhances the artist’s potential for his/her future as a professional artist.

History of ISAP

Great Britain's National Acrylic Painters' Association (NAPA) was founded in 1985 by a group of artists who felt their medium of choice was underrepresented, perhaps underestimated, in its appeal and value. They banded together, invited other acrylic painters to submit their work for membership, and started organizing exhibitions.

The United States NAPA artists formed the first chapter within NAPA in 1995. World-renowned artist Linda Gunn was the founding director of NAPA (USA). The organization is now known as ISAP, the International Society of Acrylic Painters (USA). Linda Gunn, the then-director of the USA chapter of NAPA (UK), noted that "NAPA (USA) is a professional organization. Members earn a regular living by painting or at least have a professional attitude toward their work." ISAP (USA) is a rapidly growing artists' organization working to have acrylic painting more widely recognized.

History of NAPA, the National Acrylic Painters Association 

[revised July 19, 2003]

UK Association origin and history:

The National Acrylic Painters' Association evolved from the concept that acrylic paint is still largely unrecognized in its own right. Oil and watercolor paints started from the same premise, with the origin and the history of each giving them distinct characteristics and goals, as well as their own organizations and societies. It should therefore follow that acrylic paint should have equal status as a new and developing medium. 

Acrylic paint is the 20th Century's positive contribution to painting. It is the only medium that is capable of the widest range of approaches in technique and methods, thus stimulating creativeness and fresh thinking in theory and art ideology, and as such, demands that maximum expression should be sought through its versatility. It is intended that the National Acrylic Painters' Association should fulfill this demand, by being a vehicle for collective exhibitions, which aim to promote the excellence and innovation of the medium. 

The first President of the Association was Adrian Henri. He held that post from 1986 to 1991, after which he became its first Fellow and a patron until his death in 2001. Adrian was an excellent president and a keen and loyal patron of the Association, believing in its purpose from its founding in 1985 by Ken Hodgson. Adrian was an acclaimed international painter and poet. The current President is the internationally acclaimed painter, writer, and broadcaster, Alwyn Crawshaw. Having been Vice President from 1986, he took over the post when Adrian retired, and Dr. Sally Bulgin took over his position. She was in post for some years until she stood down due to pressure of work. She was succeeded by Professor Arthur Hughes, who was head of Art at the University of Central England until his early death in 1999. At present, no one has been appointed to the post of Vice President. 

The present patrons of NAPA include Professor Brendan Neiland, R.A., who is Professor of Painting, University of Brighton; Dr. Sally A. Bulgin, editor of The Artist Magazine; The Master of the Fine Art Trade Guild; and Dr. Catherine Marcangeli. Mrs. Kay Greenwood-Casey POA (France) - an art, drama, and opera critic - was a patron and a loyal foundation supporter of the Association until her death in 2002. 

Since the inaugural exhibition in December 1985, there have numerous open and regional exhibitions held at prestigious venues such as the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists Gallery, the Black Sheep Gallery (Hawarden Castle, Flintshire), the Westminster Gallery (London), the Durham Art Gallery, and Rooksmoor Gallery (Bath). Last year's exhibition was held in St. Ives, which is the acknowledged centre for art in Britain, at the Mariners Gallery. It was a very successful exhibition, and as this was so, the Executive Council decided that the 2003 Annual Exhibition will be held there again this gallery year, with the addition of The Norway Gallery, which is part of the complex. 

Over the years since NAPA's foundation, various awards data have been obtained. The Association has received awards from: Art Review; Artists; Illustrators' Magazine, Ltd.; Artists Newsletter; Daler-Rowney Ltd.; Forsline & Starr International, Ltd.; Great Art; International Artist Magazine; Liquitex UK; Modern Painters; Pro Arte; R.K. Burt & Co., Ltd. (Fabriano); Royal Sovereign Ltd. (Rembrandt); Spectrum Oil Colours (Spectracryl); St. Cuthberts Mill; Thames & Hudson; The Artist; The American Paint Co., Ltd. (Golden, Colorado); Tollit & Harvey (Canson, Goldline, Isabey); and Winsor & Newton. NAPA is supported by Barclays Bank, plc. (Liscard Branch, North Wirral Group), Design and Artists Copyright Society (special registration rate), Harper Collins, Sun Valley, Ltd., and the Voluntary Arts Network. Members can be listed in the Art Trade Press publication, Who's Who in Art. In 1998, NAPA became a member of the Fine Art Trade Guild. 

The Association has further received substantial coverage in art journals and magazines, not only in Britain but also in Europe, America, and Australia. Membership includes both British artists and members from America (a Division of NAPA, named NAPA USA), Brazil, Canada, France, India, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Malta, Singapore, and Spain. 

USA Association origin and history: 

At the NAPA's Annual Exhibition in 1995, the concept of a NAPA USA Division was discussed and Linda Gunn, an American member, was given permission to formulate a forum for acrylic art in America. On the 1st December 1995, an American Division of NAPA was established; Linda became its first Director, and Gerald Brommer, NAPA NWS, became its first Honorary President. Gerald is a highly respected international workshop instructor, juror, and author of several art books. Sandra Carpenter, who is the editor of The Artist's Magazine (USA), holds the post of Honorary Vice President. The American Board Members, in addition to Linda Gunn, are as follows: 

Kate Burridge-Burrbeck (Marketing) 
Victoria Fricot (Membership) 
Misty Martin (Ambassador) 
Elin Pendelton (Web Mistress) 
Ara Leites (Catalogue) 
Evelyn Peters (Newsletter) 
Gerry Willging (Exhibitions) 

NAPA USA, like the parent British association, is sponsored by various businesses: Cheap Joe's Art Supply; Daler-Rowney USA; Connoisseur Brushes; HK Holbein; M. Graham & Co.; Savoir Faire for $1000 in merchandise; Artist's Magazine for $250 and a magazine subscription; and Dakota Brushes and Golden Paints for $200 in merchandise, respectively. 

There is an Annual Open Exhibition arranged by the American Division in the autumn of each year, and this year's will be the seventh annual show. It is to be held at the Cornell Museum, Florida. NAPA UK members are welcome to submit work for this exhibition. American (Signature) Members can participate in the British exhibition through slide selection. 

Concerning professionalism and non-discrimination in both divisions: 

The Association is a professional organization. Professional is taken to mean that it accepts as members those persons who earn a regular living by painting, or those who, though not living by art, adopt a professional attitude toward the subject, creatively exploiting the acrylic medium and using experimentation and imagination. It welcomes all painters, be they traditional or modern in their approach to art, and either fine or graphic artists. It has a membership which is both national and international. Lastly, the Association is non-discriminatory concerning age, disability, gender, or race: Painters are accepted solely on the strength of their work.

For more information on Napa UK see NAPA UK.

The International Society of Acrylic Painters is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organizationAll images on this site are the property of their respective owners. For permission to use images or to purchase original art please contact the individual artist.  

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